The first snows in the forest, Christmas biscuits, the build-up to the festive season and the magical feeling of being in a snow globe: Sabine is truly enchanted by her visit to the Haus Gabrielli in the tranquil, down-to-earth village of Truden.
A magical feeling of Christmas
My pre-Christmas visit to the Haus Gabrielli
My destination for today is the Haus Gabrielli, standing at the edge of the dark green, fairytale forest at the end of the tranquil village of Truden. Winter arrived some weeks ago this year and the fog persists, but this does not in any way detract from the establishment’s charm – quite the contrary, in fact, as the first snows and the tasteful holiday decorations immediately get me into the Advent mood... As soon as I arrive I feel as if I am in a snow globe in this tiny, magical, Christmassy place.
Christmas biscuits, ginger-lemon tea and all about Advent in Truden
There are Christmas biscuits on the table in the house of Elisabeth Gabrielli, who everyone affectionately calls Lissi. “It's quite Christmassy round here” I say, taking off my jacket. The landlady pours me a cup of tea and tells me about the Christmas traditions of the village. “Truden’s ‘Mountain Advent’ is organised every two years by the various associations in the village and is held in the village centre, which is the perfect venue as there are so many nooks and crannies. The lantern lights give the winding alleyways a special atmosphere and every stand offers something different”, Mrs Gabrielli tells me: “For example, the fire brigade will sell Christmas trees, the local militia company sells mulled wine, while the library offers readings. There are basket weavers and of course plenty of delicacies, sausages, grapes and so on. All the craft enterprises, the youth club and the youth choir also join in.” Mrs Gabrielli tells me that this year the primary school will even be organising a small benefit concert with the band Nice Price, and she gives me a photo album with images of Truden’s Mountain Advent from a few years back. “The occasion is a wonderful opportunity for the people of the village to get together”, she tells me earnestly as I look through the photos and get a feeling for what their community means to the people of Truden.
She continues: “The last event of the Mountain Advent in Truden is a communal outing up to the Cisloner Alm, a gentle hike with stops for tea, punch and panettone (Christmas cake). This is a very special experience and one that our guests too are delighted to be part of!” the affable landlady tells me: she also likes to treat her December guests to homemade Christmas biscuits.
A zest for action, a lust for life
Some years ago the Haus Gabrielli saw a change: “We wanted to become one of the European Hiking Villages and, because we have to meet certain standards, we had to take a good look at ourselves and the village; for example, we redesigned our entire homepage and placed the focus firmly on walking. We have put up signs in front of the house to the nearest hiking trails and even a fountain for cleaning your hiking boots (laughs)! The steel display outside was also very important, as it shows the history of our “forest cinema”, produced specially for the purpose and for the new website, and the rooms now feature images of the natural surroundings. We have done very well out of this new boost to tourism.” The Gabrielli family themselves have also certainly provided their own boost, as the family are quite creative and active. For example the landlord, Franz, is a member of the organising committee for the Truden Advent, also putting his many new ideas into practice at home. Their daughter Laura writes prose and poetry, one son Roman is a musician and the other, Tizian, is regularly to be found on the ski slopes, either for his own amusement or giving lessons as an instructor. Elisabeth runs the apartments as a “hobby”, she says – just something she does on the side. Their energetic outlook allows the Gabriellis to get on perfectly with their guests, who are also a particularly active bunch. “Things have changed a lot compared to the past. In those days, when we only had regular guests, people would sometimes stay here for two months and spend almost all their time in and around the house. Our guests today spend much more time on the move. We are happy to help and can lend them everything they need, from snowshoes to a full range of hiking and skiing equipment.” And, for those who prefer a more leisurely approach, the nearby town of Cavalese has an indoor pool, while the Stegerhof offers hay bathing and a sauna and there are thermal baths at Pozza di Fassa.
Christmas – in the house and in the heart
Mrs Gabrielli leads me through her house. The personal and familiar can be seen everywhere – starting with the recreation room that can be used for celebrations and special events, she then leads on with the names of the rooms: Maria, Anna, Sophie and Luise, all different yet traditional and down-to-earth – like the Gabriellis themselves. It is thus not surprising that the family and their guests often do things together. A special highlight is the little conservatory with its views of the forest, a place that invites you to relax, read and rest – and where the family put up their Christmas tree. “Christmas is a time when things change and everyday life is different from the rest of the year. It is time for more togetherness and kindness. It is quieter, more harmonious, more magical – people too are in a way different. I regard it as a welcome change – I really love Christmas”, smiles Elisabeth Gabrielli. Does her strong attachment to the festival have anything to do with her name? There was once an angel called Gabriel... the thought pops into my head and makes me smile over this very apt parallel when I once more leave the magical little snow globe of Truden to drive home.
Would you like to visit the Gabrielli family and their little (winter) paradise? Here you can find out all about the Haus Gabrielli in Truden!
I wish you all a peaceful Advent season and a Merry Christmas!
With simply heartfelt greetings, Sabine